Mash... - (do I need a grain mill?)

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OMBrewer

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I would like to use no extract products to make my beer...

I currently use just extract malt products and crystal malt to make my beer, no more cans.

From what you all have experienced, is it worth it to have a small grain mill to make beer? To me it is more cost efficient than buying a few pounds at a time.
 

wilserbrewer

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OMBrewer,

It is certainly more cost efficient to brew all grain rather than extract when considering the ingredients. You will need more equipment and that will be an expense, but that can be acquired on the cheap if thats what you desire? At a minimum you will need a min. 7 gal. pot and propane burner and a cooler to mash in. You will also need a decent thermometer to monitor your mash temp.

If on a budget, you can use a corona mill or a corn grinder to grind your grain. You can even motorize it w/ a large drill.

Read up and do some research, don't fear the all-grain brewing process!

Mike
 
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OMBrewer

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Thanks.

I stopped in the local brew shop today and the owner said only 1 out of every hundred do all grain. I replied with, "well thats me in a few months". I understand he needs to sell his product, but I am willing to put more bucks into it do do it.

As for myself I have always brewed without assistance, where should I do this research?
 

Yooper

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Thanks.

I stopped in the local brew shop today and the owner said only 1 out of every hundred do all grain. I replied with, "well thats me in a few months". I understand he needs to sell his product, but I am willing to put more bucks into it do do it.

As for myself I have always brewed without assistance, where should I do this research?
Here! I've never brewed with anyone else because there just isn't anyone else around me who brews AG. Howtobrew.com is an awesome all-grain resource as well.

I started with extracts and steeping grains, then went to partial mash brewing with a kit from austinhomebrew.com. After that, I bought a MLT and some grain, and began AG brewing about a year and a half ago. It's not difficult, and it's pretty inexpensive if you're handy at building some of your own equipment. A bigger (7 gallon +) brewpot is a necessity, as well as a way to chill your wort. (I have a copper immersion chiller). You can mash in a converted cooler, which is cheap. You'll find that HBT can be a great help along the way.
 

JAKlaassen

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For me, the jump from extract to all-grain was relatively easy and very rewarding. Go for it! I use a Corona mill I already had and it works just fine. I think they can be had on eBay/craigslist for a moderate price. Also, if your LHBS is nearby, they should grind it for you, and there isn't a HUGE price break on buying sacks rather than just the amount you need for your next brew.

The larger investment in going from extract/partial mash to all-grain is that you need a mash/lauter tun and a pot big enough to boil a full batch. I would not want anything smaller than my 10 gal pot, although I do 90 mins boils, and others have had success with 7.5 gal pots. I built my MLT for about $50 and my 10 gal pot was $50 at a local restaurant supply store. Wait on a grain mill until you have those.

In terms of where to look for help: www.howtobrew.com. Get a hard copy of the book, it is by far the best brewing investment I made. Mine is completely tattered.
 

Finn

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I've been using a 5-gallon brewpot since I started. A full-size brewpot is NOT a barrier to going AG. A standard canning pot is big enough if you're OK with buying an extra pound of grain to account for a lower efficiency.

Not only does the pot function for the smaller brews, but you can still boil it on your kitchen range and cool it in your bathtub because there'll only be about 3.5 gallons of wort in it when you're done. You top the batch up with water when you're done.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have a seven-gallon pot and a giant outdoor boiling station. But I don't, and I still make AG beer.

If I had a hundred bucks and a yen to do AG, I'd walk right past that big new brew kettle ... and buy a malt mill. Not a Corona, a roller mill. Total control of your crush is a huge, underappreciated asset in AG brewing, and crushing fairly fine can make up for your reduced efficiency.
 

BrewBob

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AG is easy and much more fun. I think your LHBS guy is BS'ing you a little about that "1 in 100" thing. Many people that get into homebrewing do so to do things themselves, for the satisfaction of doing it themselves. That being said, I can't see 1 out of every 100 skipping the biggest step in the brewing process, the mash.

I live in a small 1 bedroom apartment, have no deck or outdoor space, no wort chiller (soon, soon), and no huge brewpot. I use a mash/lauter-tun that is a cooler w/ stainless steel braid like everyone else. I use 2 four-gallon brewpots from wal-mart on my stovetop, and ice for the chill in my tub. I have a "corona" mill that I bought for 30 bucks on ebay and works freakin' awesome. I almost bought a barley crusher, but now I don't think I ever will because the flour mill works so very well.

I am getting over %80 efficiency like Edwort on his Haus Pale Ale with that equipment.

You should go all grain! And don't listen to the schmuck in your LHBS. The best brews are AG because the brewer puts more of his/her soul into it, remember this always.
 

jpsloan

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I just did my first all grain brew this weekend, and a lot of the specific information and answers to questions I had, up to and including how to make my mash tun, were from this site.

The Stickies are full of great info, and when you have a particular question (like how much iodophor to use in a 5 gallon bucket, or what mash temperature gets a lighter body, or how long to pump O2 into the batch), give the Search button up in the menu a try. I've rarely had a question that someone hasn't already answered in a discussion.
 

malkore

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I'd go ahead and order how to brew by john palmer, and read the 'short' version on his website while you wait for the book to arrive. its definitely a worthwhile read, and resource down the road.
 

menschmaschine

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I stopped in the local brew shop today and the owner said only 1 out of every hundred do all grain.
This is surprising. I know it's semantics, but most dictionary definitions of "brewing" describe steeping a solid in water. Extract beer-making seems more like exactly that, "beer-making", not brewing (not that there's anything wrong with it!).

PS: Go AG and don't look back!
PPS: Not trying to start an AG vs. extract debate here. Extracts can make great beer too!
 
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OMBrewer

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The best brews are AG because the brewer puts more of his/her soul into it, remember this always.
Brewbob,
That is a great quote. "AG because the brewer puts more of his/her soul into it"

I love brewing, from a favorite book of mine, The Art of Homebrewing, "Relax Have a Homebrew". I am the sort of guy that views a homebrew as something I have created without anyone else preparing some it for me.

It will be a long process to get to where I want to be.
 

Ooompa Loompa

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Brewbob,
That is a great quote. "AG because the brewer puts more of his/her soul into it"

I love brewing, from a favorite book of mine, The Art of Homebrewing, "Relax Have a Homebrew". I am the sort of guy that views a homebrew as something I have created without anyone else preparing some it for me.

It will be a long process to get to where I want to be.
Are you sure you aren't talking about Papazian's "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing". If you are then the quote is "relax, don't worry, have a homeberw"
 

fratermus

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AG is easy and much more fun. I think your LHBS guy is BS'ing you a little about that "1 in 100" thing.
I don't know; I wouldn't be surprised if it were true, depending on how one draws the lines. How many folks in the general public that have tried vintning crush their own grapes v. working from juices? Not many, I'd guess.

Of 100 people that come into the shop to buy a kit or buy a mr beer in the general public, I would be surprised if more than 10% stick with it. Of those, I'd be comfortable with a stat that said that 10% of those go AG and stay that way. That'd be the 1% number.

Those of us here in HBT and similar forums are a self-selected group: interested in the details, geeky, obsessive. I don't think we are a representative sample of the brew-curious public. :)
 

Bobby_M

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I totally agree. Probably 20 out of 100 are people coming in to buy a kit for someone else that may not even try it that once, nevermind stick with it. Another 30 might be the same potential first timers buying an extract kit. Some more are repeat extract customers. All grain has so much unwarranted mystique. If my local brew on prem place would just convert over to all grain, I think it would put the numbers closer to 1 in 2. Oh well.

OMbrewer... read my all grain primer in my sig for a "laymen's" view of the process. I would NOT go direct to a grain mill however. Start with some all grain kits from Northernbrewer or austinhomebrew for a taste of the process. There are other pieces of gear that are more critical in the beginning.
 
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OMBrewer

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I totally agree. Probably 20 out of 100 are people coming in to buy a kit for someone else that may not even try it that once, nevermind stick with it. Another 30 might be the same potential first timers buying an extract kit. Some more are repeat extract customers. All grain has so much unwarranted mystique. If my local brew on prem place would just convert over to all grain, I think it would put the numbers closer to 1 in 2. Oh well.

OMbrewer... read my all grain primer in my sig for a "laymen's" view of the process. I would NOT go direct to a grain mill however. Start with some all grain kits from Northernbrewer or austinhomebrew for a taste of the process. There are other pieces of gear that are more critical in the beginning.
Thanks for the information Bobby, that is a great site you have there!
 

tdavisii

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Definitly go AG. A little bit more of an investment but certainly worth it. I have Dave Millers Homebrewers guide. This book is awesome. I use it a lot and have read it cover to cover about 5 times.
 
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